Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder in the United States. Insomnia is the “persistent difficulty with sleep initiation, duration, consolidation or quality,” as defined by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine’s ICSD-3 manual, as relayed by the Sleep Foundation. A University of Pennsylvania study found that one in four Americans experience acute insomnia each year.
Insomnia has two different types: sleep-onset, which is when someone has trouble falling asleep, and sleep maintenance, which is trouble staying asleep. Both of these insomnia types can wreak havoc on a person’s health and life.
Restoril, the brand name for temazepam, is a medication prescribed to treat insomnia on a short-term basis, usually for seven to 10 days only. However, it should be mentioned that Restoril can be habit-forming and cause dependence.
Dependence on the drug can lead to uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms as the drug is cycling out of the body. When withdrawal symptoms become too much to bear for some people, they may take the medication or more of it and could possibly overdose, which can be life-threatening.
Restoril falls under the benzodiazepine class of medicines. It is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant with anti-anxiety and muscle relaxant effects, much like some other medications in this class.
Benzodiazepines were thought to be less addictive with lesser side effects than barbiturates, which were popular back in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. Due to this noticeable difference, they became one of the most prescribed classes of medicine in the 1970s. Restoril was introduced in 1981 and was heavily prescribed.
Restoril acts on the receptors in the brain called GABA receptors. This produces the release of the GABA (gamma-Aminobutyric acid) neurotransmitter in the brain.
Neurotransmitters are chemicals stored in nerve cells in the brain and central nervous system. The GABA neurotransmitters send messages between the nerve cells. They act as a natural calming source for the nervous system. Its function is to keep nerve activity balanced in the brain, and part of that function involves inducing sleepiness, relaxing muscles, and reducing anxiety.
Restoril lessens the time it takes someone to fall asleep and stay asleep and thereby increasing the amount of time one is asleep.Restoril is only meant to be taken for seven to 10 days and no longer. The longer someone takes it, the higher the possibility they will become dependent on it. Dependence is when the body does not respond to the drug as it has previously, and more of it is needed to feel the effects it felt before. When the drug is no longer in the body, the individual will start experiencing physical and psychological symptoms, commonly known as withdrawal symptoms.
Withdrawal from Restoril usually displays physical and psychological symptoms that are not usually fatal. Early withdrawal symptoms a person may experience may include:
It should be mentioned that diarrhea and vomiting during Restoril withdrawal can cause dehydration and loss of essential nutrients and fluids the body needs to function. It is imperative to be sure that these are replenished throughout the withdrawal period so the individual does not become severely dehydrated. Severe dehydration can cause dizziness and confusion, according to the Mayo Clinic.
In addition, memory loss, mental disorientation, and confused memories lasting for a short time may also be noticeable by the person in Restoril withdrawal.
Several individual factors can affect Restoril withdrawal. These include age, how much Restoril the person has used, if they used other substances with Restoril and genetics. Also, their history of addiction, mental health status, and/or pre-existing health condition will also affect the person in withdrawal.
The longer a person has taken Restoril, the longer and more intense withdrawal could last. If the medication was crushed and snorted, it may cause an uncomfortably severe withdrawal.
Restoril withdrawal can be less distressing if the individual undergoes medical detoxification. This is a medically supervised detox in which other medications and fluids are administered to ease severe physical withdrawal symptoms, and psychological help is available if the person is in mental distress.
Restoril has a half-life of nine hours. This is how long it takes for half of the dose of the drug taken to be eliminated from the body. Restoril withdrawal symptoms usually begin within four days of when the last dose was taken. There are three stages in which withdrawal occurs. Throughout the stages, an individual may experience:
Symptoms experienced within the first 10 days are:
The following symptoms are usually noted within the third and fourth weeks of withdrawal, and may last for a few months, and are more psychological than physical:
It is crucial to mention that Restoril withdrawal symptoms can cause some people to want to take the medication again to “feel normal,” but doing so could cause an overdose if more is taken than the body can handle. Benzodiazepine and Restoril overdose can produce life-threatening results.
Benzodiazepine and Restoril withdrawal can be alleviated with professional addiction treatment. As previously mentioned, this is a process that begins with medical detoxification, where the drug and other toxins are removed from the body, and any withdrawal symptoms that are felt are addressed immediately by medical personnel under round-the-clock supervision.
Once detox is complete, you can receive ongoing counseling and therapy in residential treatment or through an outpatient program, depending on the severity of your addiction. If you have abused Restoril or taken it with other drugs or alcohol, it is vital to undergo residential treatment. Here, you will receive full-time therapy, counseling, and education to aid and support you in your struggle to be free from Restoril and other substances.
Outpatient treatment provides you the flexibility and freedom to live at home while receiving therapy at the treatment center. It also allows you to attend to work and family obligations as you work toward continued sobriety and a new healthier life.
Once outpatient treatment is completed, there are several supportive recovery communities and activities in which to become involved. Alumni and aftercare programs offer events where you can spend time with others in your same circumstances, share stories, tips to stay drug-free and help prevent relapse.
Both of these drugs are in the same class – benzodiazepines. In short, temazepam can help stop Klonopin withdrawals. Temazepam is a short-acting drug, and Klonopin, a longer-acting drug. It would be better to take a longer-acting benzo for Klonopin withdrawals rather than a shorter-acting one like temazepam, which can cause quick and difficult withdrawals.
It is thought that temazepam is stronger than Xanax because it is in your body longer than Xanax. Xanax is a short-acting drug, and many people take it more than once a day. The sedative effects of temazepam can be felt fairly soon after taking it.
Xanax is taken more frequently and works very fast. Rebound anxiety is possible if someone stops taking it suddenly, and withdrawal symptoms can be felt almost right away. For this reason, some people might take more Xanax to ease the symptoms.
A good rule to remember about withdrawing from any drug cold turkey is that the higher the dose and the longer it is taken, the higher the risk of distressing withdrawal symptoms. Nonetheless, withdrawal symptoms can occur even when someone takes a standard dose and if taken short-term. It is recommended to taper off of the drug slowly than to abruptly stop taking it.
Temazepam is a sleep-inducing drug with a half-life of nine hours. That means it will take nine hours for half of the dose taken to leave the body. If you quit taking it cold turkey, even if you’ve taken it for just a week, you may feel like you need it or need more of it to ease withdrawal symptoms, which could cause an overdose. Never stop taking a benzodiazepine cold turkey.
American Sleep Association. Sleep and Sleep Disorder Statistics. from https://www.sleepassociation.org/about-sleep/sleep-statistics/
University of Pennsylvania. (2018, June 8) PennToday. One in four Americans develops insomnia each year. from https://penntoday.upenn.edu/news/one-four-americans-develops-insomnia-each-year
Drugs.com. (2021, February 3) Restoril. Sinha, S. MD. from https://www.drugs.com/restoril.html
Netdoctor. (August 15, 2020) Temazepam for insomnia and anxiety: uses and side effects. Ghelani, R. BPharm, MRPharmS. from https://www.netdoctor.co.uk/medicines/brain-nervous-system/a7628/temazepam/
Mayo Clinic. (2019, September 19) Dehydration. Symptoms. Adult. from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dehydration/symptoms-causes/syc-20354086
Verywell Mind. (2020, April 1) How Long Does Restoril (Temazepam) Stay in Your System? T. B. from https://www.verywellmind.com/how-long-does-restoril-stay-in-your-system-80321
US Food and Drug Administration. (2010, November 4) Restoril™ (temazepam)Abuse and Dependence. from https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2010/018163s054lbl.pdf